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||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||

He who has ears to hear, let him hear



(Mk 4:9, 23)

The letters which God had sent to the seven

Churches which are in Asia; each of which includes

the phrase "I know your works" and ends with "He

who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to

the churches". And today we want to contemplate on

those two subjects.


_A Message for everyone_

How nice it is that God sends messages to people,

He sends his word to everybody, to the evil and at

the same time to the good, to those who love Him

and also to those who left their first love. God even

sends His message to the Angel of the church in

Sardis whom said to him" you have a name that you

are alive, but you are dead" (Rev 3:1). And to the

Angel of the church of Laodicea whom God said to

him "because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor

hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth" (Rev 3:15.16).

And despite all that; God still sent everyone of them a



Every person in life has to receive a message

from God.

God talks to a person in his heart, in his thoughts.

He sends him a message which is suitable to him by

any means; through a book, a sermon or through

someone's advice…

Can you imagine that God had even talked to

Cain before he killed his own brother Abel.

God said to him "sin lies at the door. And its

desire is for you, but you should rule over it" (Gn

4:7); be careful as you are still in command of your

own will. Watch out not to fall into sin… watch out

your desire. Watch out your feelings.

God sent a message even to Balaam…

And in the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Apostle

says "God, who at various times and in various ways

spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has

in these last days spoken to us by His Son" (He 1:1,

2)… in various ways…

You cannot say that God's voice hasn't

reached you.

Some people God speaks to them in revelations

and dreams. Though not all dreams and revelations

are from God!

And others, God spoke to them in person as what

happened with the Prophets…

And some people God spoke to them through the

Prophets, the Bible says "And their words to the end

of the world" (Ps 19).

And God talked to everyone through the Holy

Inspiration, the Holy Bible which is God's words…

there are some people whom God had talked to

through the Angels… and talked to everyone through

sermons as Saint Paul the Apostle says " as though

God were pleading through us… we implore you on

Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God " (2 Co 5:19,20).

The word which Gods sends you might be a

word of blessing, a word of comfort, of

education, or of warning…

If only you would continually ask yourself: what is

God's word for me? You always listen to people… but

what is God's word to you?

Imagine that Jesus Christ says: To the Angel of

the church of Ephesus write… to the Angel of the

church in Smyrna… to Pergamos… to Thyatira… to

Philadelphia… to Sardis… to Laodicea… write.

Everyone has a message which is specifically

addressed to him by God.

_A commandment in the Bible_

Jesus Christ said that phrase several times in the

books of the Bible:

He said "He who has ears to hear, Let him hear"

after his talk about John the Baptist (Mt 11:15), and

after the Parable of the Sower (Mt 13:9) (Mk 4:9),

after explaining the Parable of the Wheat and the

Tares (Mt 13:43) (Mk 4:22), after his speech about

the things which come out of a man which can defile

him (Mk 7:16) and also after his words about the salt

which has lost its flavor (Lk 14:35)…

He also said this phrase to the seven churches in

the Book of Revelation "He who has an ear, let him

hear what the Spirit says to the churches", He said

this phrase seven times in (Rev 2, 3).

"What the Spirit says to the churches" is

such a comforting phrase:

It means that the Holy Spirit is still talking to the

Churches, the Holy Spirit works in us, guides us into

all truth (Jn 16:13), and brings to our remembrance

all things that God said to us (Jn 14:26).

_Ears to hear_

There are people who had ears to hear,

respond and obey.

Like Abram the father of all fathers when God said to

him "Get out of your country, from your family and

from your father's house" (Gn 12), and when God

also said to him "Take now your son, your only son

Isaac, and offer him there as a burnt offering…" (Gn

22); Abram obeyed, without discussion. He had ears

to hear… Lot, when the Angel told him to go out of

Sodom… Don't stay anywhere in the plain (Gn 19)…

he listened and obeyed…


Of the most obeying creations to God's

words are the Angels.

The chanter says about them in the Psalms "Bless

the Lord, you His Angels… who do His word, heeding

the voice of His word" (Ps 103:20). As soon as they

hear the word; they immediately obey, whether to

save or to penalize…

That is why as long as we want to follow God's

words, obeying His will; we say "as in heaven so in

earth"… so we are asking to have ears which can


Examples of those who heard the word and

responded to it are Christ's Disciples.

Matthew, as soon as he heard the word "follow

me", he arose left the tax office and followed Jesus

(Mt 9:9). And so did Peter and his brother Andrew

whom immediately left the ship, their nets and their

families and followed Him as soon as they heard His

phrase "Follow Me, and I will make you become

fishers of men" (Mk 1:17, 18).

And so did James and John… and the same goes

for Saul of Tarsus (Ac 19). For that reason, Jesus

Christ blessed His disciples saying:

"But blessed are your ears for they hear".

Because there are others who have ears that

don't hear (Mk 8:11) (Rev 28:21), there are many

examples and there are many reasons for that…

Jesus Christ Himself, many of those who lived at

His time had ears but didn't listen.

_Ears that don't hear_

First ears of all which didn't hear; were

those of Adam and Eve's

They heard the commandment, but as if they

didn't. They recalled the commandment in details yet

they reversed it! (Gn 3). Why? because of another

word which was said by the serpent that over ruled

God's word to them, the serpent's word was to them

more effective and more tempting, hence the word of

God was as if was never heard.

That is why be always careful never to let

anyone grab God's word from you.

As was mentioned in the Parable of the Sower;

that birds came and devoured some of the seeds so

they didn't grow (Mt 13:4).

Seeds were sown, which means they reached the

ears, but someone devoured them…

You listen to the advice or the sermon, you are

emotionally affected, then another person comes and

hence another influence prevails over the word and

snatch it up leaving only this person's influence on


Cain heard God's warning, but it was as if he

didn't hear anything! So why was that?

There were emotions and responses in the

heart which held back God's word and

eliminated its effect… as if he hadn't heard!

The feelings of envy, resentment and anger which

were in his heart were like a strong barrier holding

back God's word. So he heard the word and was as if

he never heard it… he was busy hearing the voice of

resentment and sorrow in his heart…

God told him: beware, sin lies at the door… and you

are still ruling over it. You should not commit sin…

but Cain's inner emotions were holding him back from

listening to the advice… and after God had talked to

him, he went and killed his brother!!

Watch out for your inner emotional

responses and its dominance.

Christ talked to the rich young ruler and gave him

a word of advice. The rich young man though went

away sorrowful, and didn't listen to God (Mt19:22).

So why was that?

There is a desire inside the heart that

hinders the word from reaching there.

Despite the fact that this young man kept the

commandments since his childhood, but money wise,

he couldn't listen because at that point there was the

desire which was ruling over him keeping away every

commandment and every word. Rejecting and turning

it away…

It is as if a person is willing to listen to you

in everything, except this one thing which he


Not listening in this situation is not absolute; it

concerns only one issue which is the point of

weakness, the prevailing desire…

The wise Solomon is an example, he was wiser

than all men and from God he had acquired wisdom…

but he couldn't listen to God's word with regard to

women and his desire of loving to marry many foreign

women, he did not fully follow the Lord as did his

father David (1 K 11:1-10) and didn't keep His


If you find out that your ears don't hear; so

look for the reason?

Go to a physician to cure you, rather find a

cardiologist who can find out what desires are in you

heart. It is like a person who disobeys his parents,

the commandment and the Church, violates law as

well; it is because of the desire that is in his heart

which he wants to fulfill and the lust which blocks his


Sometimes the hardness of heart is the

cause of not hearing.

That is why the bible says "if you will hear His

voice, do not harden your hearts" (He 3:15)…

Pharaoh was that kind of a hard hearted person,

who couldn't listen to all of God's warnings, and was

not affected by all the plagues. How many times he

pleaded to Moses and Aaron, he promised to obey

then returned from where he started…

Hardness of heart begets stubbornness. And

stubbornness prohibits hearing the word:

Stubbornness that blocks the heart obstructs

thinking and no matter what is said to that person of

useful and persuasive talk; he doesn't listen!

A person who is persisting on his way of thinking

regardless of what you tell him, it is as if you've never


In such persistence there is a kind of pride where

at that point ears are blocked, in contrast to the meek

and humble person who can listen, even if he is

wrong, that person accepts rebuke and advice; he

then fixes up his way and listens.

Heretics had ears that didn't hear, pride and

stubbornness blocked those ears.

Arius for example, he didn't listen to the Patriarch's

words or to the local council which was held in

Alexandria and consisted of one hundred Bishop, he

didn't listen to Saint Athanasious' persuasive talks,

nor to the decree of the Ecumenical Council.

His stubbornness blocked his ears, and so did his

pride so he died in his heresy, without listening… self

esteem prohibited him from listening and so did the

persisting on his own way of thinking…


The same goes with every theological

dialogue which is of this same kind.

You might have a conversation with someone and

you find him prepared to answer even before you

finish what you are saying. He talks more than he

listens, doesn't want to hear and doesn't want to be

convinced; persistence and stubbornness prevents

him from doing so, he has ears that don't hear.

And so is every person who is persisting on his

own thoughts and insisting on them. It is as if you are

talking to a hard rock where, for the word, there is no

way in…

It is the same with every person who has

self esteem.

He might think that your advice is humiliating

him, affecting his dignity making him feel that he is

wrong and so hurting his feelings… so he is not at all

willing to listen as listening requires humbleness. For

that reason, not every talk of blame is fruitful: if you

blame the humble loving person you win him, but the

arrogant self esteemed person when you rebuke him

it becomes worse.

Herod the King couldn't hear the word of

John the Baptist.

John the Baptist's words are clear "It is not lawful

for you to have your brother's wife" (Mt 14:4). It is a

clear Divine commandment concerning illegitimate

marriages (Lv 18:16)… the Bible considers it filthiness

(Lv 20:21). But Herod doesn't listen, Herodias

temptation prevented him. The same goes with

Delilah whom her temptation kept Samson from

keeping the commandment in his ears of being a

Nazirite (Jg 13:7).

There is another influence which prohibited

God's word from affecting him.

There is another passion which whelmed over

love to God; it kept the ears from hearing… how

many times we hear God's word in readings, sermons

and in every Liturgy and it is as if we didn't hear, and

the nature stills the same. The Jews had Blessings on

Mount Gerizim and curses continually on Mount Ebal

(Dt 27, 28). Though they didn't care!!

Jesus Christ talked to the wise Jews but they

didn't hear, despite His strong convincing way; they

stuck to their opinions.

Being literal and acquiring their father's

wrong traditions and teachings, both prohibited

them from listening.

There might have been feelings of envy in their

hearts pushing them towards trying to get rid of Jesus

Christ not towards listening to his words.

What else. Are there any other reasons which

prevent from hearing?

Fear as well sometimes blocks the ears.

Pontius Pilate was confident that Christ was

innocent, he said that he had found no reason for

death in Him (Lk 23:22). His wife even warned him

saying "Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I

have suffered many things today in a dream because

of Him" (Mt 27:19), though he didn't hear as fear

hindered him from listening.

He feared that they might complain to Caesar. It’s

the fear of losing his position.

And may be it was the same fear which prevented

Agrippa the King from hearing Saint Paul the

Apostle's preaching in spite the fact that he told him

"You almost persuade me to become a Christian" (Ac

26:28)… if Agrippa had become Christian; his position

as a King would have been lost.

Many people threaten others and through fear

they destroy them… if you say anything, if you

escape, if you reveal the conspiracy, if you don't give

in… so and so will happen. And because a person is so

afraid so no advice at that point can save him…! You

talk to him but he is as if not hearing. Fear blocks his


There is another reason why ears are

blocked, it is recklessness and indifference.

Lot advised the people of Sodom to get out of the

city before its destruction, they laughed at his words

"But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking" (Gn


The same goes for Paul the Apostle whom when

he talked in Athens, they also made fun of what he

said "What does this babbler want to say?" (Ac


It is kind of recklessness, they didn't take it

seriously and so their ears were not for hearing… like

a person whom when you give him an advice he

laughs at what you say or turn it into a subject of

humor… he doesn't listen rather he makes fun and

laughs at it…

Another person who doesn't listen is the one

who is faltering between two opinions.

Ahab, if he listens to Elijah, Jezebel can totally

change his mind…

So if you want to give yourself a chance to listen,

you have to move away from the atmosphere which

can switch your point of view… it is like a young man

who hears a sermon and then because of the

influence of his friends he loses its influence.

The hardest example of not hearing is Judas,

whom betrayal hindered him from listening.

How many times did Jesus Christ warn him…

though betrayal was blocking his ears in addition to

his desire of loving money. The heart was in mess,

his ears as well… that is why it didn't hear.

So that your ears would hear, you should

first have the desire for listening, and the sense

of concern in carrying out, you should be longing

for hearing the word even if it costs your life.

If the divine voice came to you, preserve it in

your heart, inside your will. As Saint Anthony did

when he had heard God's word and he immediately

carried it out seriously and rapidly, without delay.

Let's assess ourselves, how many times did

we hear and didn't implement, as if we didn't


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